LONDON (Reuters) - Great Dyke Investments (GDI) Ltd said on Thursday it would invest around $400 million to build a precious metals mine and smelter in Zimbabwe, as the country opens up to international business.
The joint venture between Russia’s JSC Afromet and Zimbabwe’s Pen East Ltd expects to produce up to 855,000 ounces(27 tonnes) of platinum group metals and gold per year from the Darwendale PGM project.
Its deposit, which has total resources of around 1,300 tonnes of platinum group metals (PGMs) is part of the Great Dyke in Zimbabwe and is the world’s biggest PGM asset, the companies said in a statement.
Zimbabwe is the third largest platinum producer at 445,000 ounces last year, behind South Africa and Russia, according to the World Platinum Investment Council.
GDI’s chief executive Igor Higer expects the project will double the production of PGMs in Zimbabwe. He is one of several investors who have spent more than $100 million, which entitles them to special terms.
The mine life after project ramp-up to full capacity is estimated at 35 years.
“According to our estimates the investment in the first phase the project construction is $400 million,” said Hepsina Rukato, chairman of the GDI board of directors.
The companies said that the initial infrastructure of roads, storage and residential facilities have been built.
The project is expected to create around 8,000 highly skilled jobs at full capacity.
PricewaterhouseCoopers and SFA Oxford provide analytical support to the project. Cresco Project Finance and EY have been engaged as financial advisers.
Reporting by Clara Denina And Barbara Lewis, additional reporting by Jan Harvey; Editing by Peter Graff